1974 Dedication of the Washington D.C. Temple
The Washington D.C. Temple, referred to until 1999 as the Washington Temple, took six years to complete construction. The exterior of the temple was sheathed in 173,000 square feet of Alabama white marble — enough to cover three and one-half football fields. The house of the Lord reaches 288 feet tall at the central eastern tower, the tallest temple at the time of its dedication.
The seven-week open house drew 758,328 visitors
, almost 100,000 more visitors than any other temple open house to that point. The open house was extended a week longer than originally planned due to the number of visitors. Betty Ford, first lady of the United States, toured the temple with Church President Spencer W. Kimball
and temple President Edward E. Drury. She said
about the experience:
“This is a really, truly great experience for me, and I think the temple is one of great beauty and a great addition to our surroundings here in Washington. It’s really an inspiration to all of us. I don’t know when I have enjoyed anything quite so much. ... This is something that is, in my mind, a wonderful creation of six years.”
Other guests included United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and other Supreme Court justices; Vice President-designate Nelson Rockefeller; more than 100 U.S. congressional leaders; and other federal, state and local government officials and community leaders.
There were four days of dedicatory sessions, Nov. 19-22, 1974, with 10 total sessions, all of which were presided over by President Kimball. In each session, approximately 4,300 members were seated, with nearly 2,000 being seated in the temple’s seventh-level assembly room.Dedicatory prayer excerpt:
"Father, we are concerned with the political world of today and that nations seem to need only the lighting of a match to bring war and desolation and destruction. Bless, we pray thee, the leaders of nations, that they may rule wisely and righteously and give thy people freedom to worship thee in truth and righteousness. Stay the powers, our Father, that would bring us to the brink of annihilation."Read the dedicatory prayer of the Washington D.C. Temple here.
2022 Rededication of the Washington D.C. Temple
At the invitation of President Kimball, then-Dr. Russell M. Nelson
attended the 1974 dedication. When one of the senior leaders got sick, Dr. Nelson spent the morning with him, returning just in time to participate in a later session.
Almost five decades later, while serving as President of the Church, President Nelson said
he would never forget the feeling in the temple.
“The temple is more beautiful now than it ever was before, and it was stunning before. ... This temple has been renewed. There is more light.”
President Nelson rededicated the Washington D.C. Temple on Aug. 14, 2022, accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson. In addition to the Nelsons, also participating in dedicatory sessions were President Dallin H. Oaks
and President Henry B. Eyring
of the First Presidency; Elder Quentin L. Cook
, Elder D. Todd Christofferson
and Elder Gerrit W. Gong
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Sister Amy A. Wright
, first counselor in the Primary general presidency; and numerous other Church leaders. Sister Kristen Oaks, Sister Mary Cook, Sister Kathy Christofferson, Sister Susan Gong and Brother James Wright also participated.
Just like the 1974 dedication, the open house was extended to accommodate the number of visitors wanting to tour the renovated house of the Lord. During the open house, a press conference was held with various Church leaders, one of which was Sister Reyna I. Aburto
of the Relief Society general presidency, who said
“When I’m inside the temple, I think about friends that I know that are making covenants with God will help them in their life. So having an open house is such a beautiful opportunity for us to invite the community to come and see what happens in a temple, to come and feel that peace. ... We are all trying to be better. Having the endowment of power that we received in the temple helps us to be better.”Dedicatory prayer excerpt:
"Today, we are ever grateful for the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the inspired Constitution of the United States of America. We are grateful for that Constitution and for the leaders of this great nation, past, present and future. Please bless them with a desire to do what is right."Read the rededication prayer of the Washington D.C. Temple here.
The site for the Washington D.C. Temple was selected in 1962, six years before the temple was announced on Nov. 15, 1968. The site dedication and groundbreaking for this house of the Lord was held Dec. 7, 1968, by President Hugh B. Brown
, a counselor in the First Presidency. The temple was completed six years later and dedicated from Nov. 19 to Nov. 22, 1974. The dedication was done by President Spencer W. Kimball in 10 sessions. Prior to the dedication, the temple held a public open house, attracting over 750,000 visitors.
In 2018, the temple closed for renovations. It was scheduled to reopen in December 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it was scheduled to reopen, the open house lasted from April 28 to June 11, 2022, attracting over 250,000 visitors. President Russell M. Nelson
rededicated the temple in three sessions on Aug. 14, 2022.
Architecture and Design of the Washington D.C. Temple
The Washington D.C. Temple is built from Alabama white marble on 52 acres of land. The post-modern design of this temple features six spires to emulate the Salt Lake Temple. The three towers to the east represent the Melchizedek Priesthood leadership, and the three to the west represent the Aaronic Priesthood leadership. The temple contains a baptistry, celestial room, six ordinance rooms and 12 sealing rooms across seven floors.
The Washington D.C. Temple is the third-largest temple in the Church, at 240 feet by 136 feet, with a floor area of 160,000 square feet. The easternmost spire is 288 feet tall, making it the Church's tallest house of the Lord. At the time of its 2022 rededication, the Washington D.C. Temple served 38 stakes in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and West Virginia.
Interior Photos of the Washington D.C. Temple